Gilles Cojan graduated from ESSEC business school in 1977. He began his career in 1978 as Treasurer at the pharmaceuticals group, Servier, before joining Banque Transatlantique to take up the position of CEO of its subsidiary, GTI Finance. In 1990, he was appointed head of the Financing and Treasury department at Valeo.
Gilles Cojan joined Elior in 1992 as Chief Financial Officer before going on to become CEO of Elior International and Group Chief Strategy Officer. Acting alongside Elior’s founders – Robert Zolade and Francis Markus – he ensured the success of the MBO organized in 1992 and completed in 1996. Then in 1997, again with the founders, he organized two successive LBOs for the contract catering and concession catering businesses, which resulted in the creation of the Elior Group. As from that date he was directly responsible for implementing the Group’s internationalization strategy, which led to it successively entering the UK, Spanish and Italian markets. Gilles Cojan was the driving force behind a number of the major partnerships that have stepped up the pace of the Group’s growth, including the partnership set up in 2001 with the Spain-based company Areas, which helped the Group strengthen its leadership position in concession catering, and then the alliance forged in 2013 with the founder of THS, which underpinned Elior’s rapid development strategy in the United States. In 2000, he oversaw Elior’s IPO and then in 2006, with Robert Zolade, he organized the Company’s voluntary stock market de-listing followed by a new LBO carried out with the aim of accelerating the Group’s development. In 2010, he had the idea of creating a “services” business which has now become an integral part of the Group.
Since 2007, Gilles Cojan has also been the CEO of BIM, Elior Group’s principal shareholder. In the same year he was appointed a member of Elior’s Supervisory Board, sitting alongside Robert Zolade and representatives of Charterhouse, and in June 2014, when the Company was re-listed, he became a member of its Board of Directors. He is currently a member of Elior Group’s Audit Committee and its Strategy, Investments and CSR Committee and was appointed Vice-Chairman of the Group on July 26, 2017. Gilles Cojan has been Chairman of Elior Group’s Board of Directors from November 1, 2017 to June 30, 2022.